After exploring Jerusalem, we headed south to the area around the Dead Sea. The Israeli desert was like no place I have ever seen – no rolling dunes, no flat monotony broken only by cacti. This desert was rugged and wild, full of mountains and cliffs and punctuated by the water of the Dead Sea. And I have to say, I could feel the desolation of the place. This is where David ran when he was being pursued by Saul and where Jesus was tempted by the Devil. Each morning I woke up and felt that the sand and the salt had sucked all the moisture out of my body. Though I loved the strange beauty around me, I could not wait to return to greener pastures. Which we did… stay tuned for part 3: Galilee!
Ancient Beer Sheba, described as the southernmost point of the Promised Land. Modern Beer Sheba in the background:
View of an ancient Roman siege camp from Masada. Masada was originally the winter palace of King Herod, but later became the final stronghold of Jewish zealots during the revolt of 70 AD:
Sunrise over the Dead Sea:
Palm trees at the oasis of En Gedi. David found refuge here when he was being hunted by Saul. It was here that he wrote many of the Psalms:
Dead Sea Scroll on display at Qumran, the location of the ancient Essene community where the scrolls were written and then hidden in nearby caves.
Location on the Jordan River near the place where Jesus was baptized. The river forms the present-day border between Israel and Jordan: